Sign on: Catholics for Nuclear Abolition

We must let the incoming president know that we are for peace. Sign on to this letter to the President-elect Trump for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The deadline for signatures is Friday, January 13th at noon EST.

January 2017

To:         President-elect Trump

Re:         A message from Catholics in support of nuclear abolition

“Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession, thereby clearing the road to nuclear abolition.” (“Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition,” The Holy See, December 8, 2014)

Dear President-elect Trump:

Nuclear weapons have plagued humanity for 70 years. Designed to terrify as well as to destroy, these weapons can, in the hands of either states or terrorists, cause indiscriminate harm to humans and the earth on a scale that is unthinkable and likely to persist for generations. The use of nuclear weapons has long been strictly prohibited by Catholic teaching. Two years ago, however, the Holy See added that “the very possession of nuclear weapons, even for purposes of deterrence, is morally problematic.”

As leadership in organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the United States, we are deeply troubled that the United States would, by implication or action, contribute to a renewed nuclear arms race. No moral justification exists for impeding the already painfully slow steps to nuclear abolition; undercutting existing nuclear arms control agreements; or encouraging the proliferation of nuclear weapons, including among so-called “friendly” countries.

We strongly oppose plans of the United States to modernize the nuclear weapons arsenal, investing billions to ensure that these deadly weapons remain ready for use. These funds and tremendous human talent are diverted from meeting true human security goals and from protecting the integrity of creation.

Continued reliance on nuclear weapons is an affront to human dignity and the sacredness of life. Yet, nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not prohibited by an international convention, even though they have the greatest destructive capacity of all weapons.

We urge your Administration to surprise the world and actively support negotiations at the United Nations on a treaty that would not only make it illegal for nations to use or possess nuclear weapons, but would also help pave the way to their complete elimination, strengthening existing non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

In his recent World Day of Peace message for 2017, His Holiness Pope Francis said, “An ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence between individuals and among peoples cannot be based on the logic of fear, violence and closed-mindedness, but on responsibility, respect and sincere dialogue. Hence, I plead for disarmament and for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons: nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutual assured destruction are incapable of grounding such an ethics.”

As you accept the heavy responsibility for U.S. nuclear weapons policy we urge you to remember, in the words of the Holy See, that “the commitment to disarm embedded in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other international documents is more than a legal-political detail, it is a moral commitment on which the future of the world depends.”

Reflecting on Pope Francis’ 2017 World Day of Peace Message

tony-maglianoby Tony Magliano

“May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.” This statement written by Pope Francis in his Jan. 1 World Day of Peace message – the 50th annual papal peace message to the world – extols nonviolence as an essential and nonnegotiable key to true and lasting peace.

In his peace message titled “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace,” the Holy Father says, “When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promoters of nonviolent peacemaking.

“In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.”

Throughout this extremely challenging New Year’s peace message, Pope Francis boldly raises the moral bar, calling each of us, and each nation, to heed the clear nonviolent way of Jesus: “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).

Most unfortunately, in contrast to Jesus’ nonviolent message over 50 countries are involved in armed conflicts (see: http://bit.ly/2irdlju), Pope Francis accurately laments: “Today, sadly, we find ourselves engaged in a horrifying world war fought piecemeal.”

The Holy Father powerfully declares: “Violence is not the cure for our broken world.”

Francis points out that meeting violence with violence produces tremendous suffering, not only in death and destruction, but by diverting necessary resources for human life to military ends.

And judging from recent dangerous comments of President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the world could get far more violent.

Responding to Putin’s recent comment about strengthening Russia’s nuclear weapons capabilities in 2017, Trump – a day after meeting with Pentagon and defense contractors – called on the U.S. to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” until the rest of the world “comes to its senses” regarding nuclear weapons (see CBC News http://bit.ly/2irt2Ha).

With hundreds of nuclear weapons currently aimed at each other on hair-trigger alert, it’s Putin and Trump (as well as Obama) who need to come to their senses.

For a nonviolent, reasonable way to reverse this violently dangerous course,  visit Global Zero (http://www.globalzero.org/no-first-use) to learn the facts and what you can do to help rid the world of these most monstrous weapons.

Pope Francis writes, “To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” Francis reminds us that Jesus’ teaching of God’s unconditional love calls us to turn the other cheek, love our enemies and faithfully live the Sermon on the Mount.

Francis counters the frequent mistaken criticism that “Nonviolence is sometimes taken to mean surrender, lack of involvement and passivity, but this is not the case,” he says. He cites famous effective nonviolent examples like Mahatma Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and “Leymah Gbowee and the thousands of Liberian women, who organized pray-ins and nonviolent protest that resulted in high-level peace talks to end the second civil war in Liberia.”

And currently international groups like the “Nonviolent Peaceforce” (see: www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org) are courageously, nonviolently and effectively helping to reduce and even stop violent conflict.

Please carefully reflect on Pope Francis’ “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace (go to http://bit.ly/2hj78oP). A prayerful reading of this short, powerful papal teaching,  will deepen your resolve to be a true peacemaker – in the nonviolent footsteps of the Prince of Peace.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, “Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century,” has been well received by diocesan and parish gatherings from Santa Clara, Calif. to Baltimore, Md. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.